Do you want to apply for social security disability benefits?
Around 65 million Americans receive Social Security benefits each month. About 8.1 million have a disability, receiving $1,280 in monthly benefits.
Applying for Social Security Disability has specific requirements. Continue reading below for a step-by-step guide to applying for social security disability benefits.
1. Prepare the Critical Information
When you apply for social security disability benefits, be ready with the required information. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will request your date of birth, place of birth, and Social Security number.
Provide these details for your current and former spouse. Include the place and date of the marriage. If applicable, give the date of the divorce.
If you have minor children, provide their names and dates of birth. Provide your bank’s Routing Transit Number if you prefer the SSA to deposit the benefits online.
The SSA will also ask about your medical condition. Give the contact details of a reputable person to vouch for you.
Send over the names, contact details, patient ID numbers, and dates of all your doctors and treatments. Include your medicines and the doctors who prescribed them. If you went through medical tests, give the dates and the names of the physicians who ordered them.
Lastly, provide critical details about your work. Give your total earnings this year and the previous one. Provide the name and address of your employers during this period.
Give the SSA a copy of your Social Security Statement. List the last five jobs you had over the past 15 years before you became disabled. You also need to know the Date Last Insured.
2. Prepare the Documents
Whether applying online or in-person, provide your birth certificate. For applicants born in other countries, send proof of your U.S. citizenship.
If you served the military before 1968, prepare your military discharge papers. Ready your W-2 forms or self-employment tax returns if applicable. Collate your pay stubs, settlement agreements, and award letters proving temporary or permanent workers’ benefits.
When mailing your documents, put your Social Security number to avoid mix-ups. Write your Social Security number on a separate paper and stash it inside the mail.
3. Fill Out the Application Form and Wait for the Review
Download the Disability Benefit Application form and fill it out. Check all the details and the accuracy of your responses.
Wait for the SSA to review your application. They will determine if your application meets the requirements. They will check if you accumulated enough work years and evaluate your current work activities.
After processing your application, they will forward your state’s Disability Determination Services office. It is the state agency ultimately responsible for deciding whether you qualify.
Alternatively, you may apply through the local SSA office. You may call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Their staff will guide you through the process via telephone.
If you don’t live in the U.S., you may connect with the Federal Benefits Unit in your country.
4. Monitor Your Status and SSA’s Response
While waiting for the decision on your social security application, track your status online. Go to your personal Social Security account to check your application status.
Alternatively, you can call the SSA for updates. It takes about three to five months before the agency hands out its decision.
5. File an Appeal (If Necessary)
Not all applicants qualify for social security eligibility. If the state agency denies your application, you may still file for an appeal. Put it into writing within 60 days of receiving the decision.
The appeal has four levels, with the first being Reconsideration followed by a hearing in front of an administrative law judge.
Next, the Social Security Appeals Council will review your appeal. Lastly, the federal courts will look at your case before making a final decision.
Do You Qualify for SSDI?
Who can claim disability benefits? Errors in the application form are the most common reasons for the denial.
Simple clerical mistakes can lead to rejection. Your application form should be clear and complete to boost your chances of approval.
Another factor is the lack of medical evidence. After all, some applicants provide insufficient medical records supporting their condition. Others fail to get consistent medical treatment.
If you feel the process is tedious, do your best to cooperate. Failing to work with the SSA can also lead to rejection. Give them whatever document they ask for without complaints.
Sometimes, failing to seek legal help can also affect your chances. If you’re not confident in going through the process, hire a disability lawyer.
Applying for the wrong type of SSD program can also delay your benefits. The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) applies to people with enough work history and paid enough taxes throughout their career.
Meanwhile, the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is for applicants with limited income. These are people struggling with their disability, even in their younger years.
When to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits
When should you apply for social security disability benefits? The best time is as soon as you become disabled. Delaying your application will only result in you paying more than you should.
You should also apply if you’re not receiving any benefits from your Social Security record. Applying is also advisable if you cannot work for at least 12 months because of your condition.
Learn More Financial Tips Now
Now you know how to apply for social security disability benefits, you can better prepare. As such, you will submit more accurate details and information. It also saves more time and boosts your chances of getting approval.
However, learning about social security disability benefits is only the beginning. Whether your disability is permanent or temporary, consider learning better financial management skills. It ensures your stability, no matter your situation.
Did you find this guide helpful? If so, read our other posts and learn more valuable tips and tricks today.